#GetInvolved Blog Post by Daisy J – Real Life Autistic Adult and School Teaching Assistant

Welcome to get involved number 4

A project in which I have invited some incredible people in education to write blog posts colleagues and professionals to talk about


Today’s guest post is by Daisy J – Real Life Autistic Person and Teaching Assistant – I’m sure you will find Daisy’s story as moving as I did.


Happy Reading


Andrew Whitehouse


Daisy J is 24 Years old and is a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant for a child with Autism. She was diagnosed in July 2018 with Autism following a lifetime of feeling disconnected from the world. She was brave one day and wrote an eloquent description of herself to a TV production company and her role in Misfits Salon began. Since appearing in the program her story has hit many areas of the world and now she finds herself surrounded by people in the same position as her. She talks about her diagnosis, the ups and the downs and her experiences of being an Autistic person on her instagram @earthtodaisyj



I wanted to call my blog post – my first ever blog post at that! – ‘Flying Under the Radar’ because it feels weird writing about  “what it was like growing up with autism” because I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 22, I just grew up being a bit different. As time goes by, I’m beginning to question more and more how my life would be different now if I’d have been diagnosed when I was a child or a teenager.

As a kid, I was always the quiet one, cracked on with her school work with the occasional request to quieten down, I grew up going to a small town school, everyone knows everyone, you go to secondary school and college with the same kids you went to primary school with.

I guess looking back, I’ve come to realise I never really belonged in a specific group of people, I was always on the edges of groups. Interestingly enough, I was a total perfectionist and was often described by my primary school teachers as being anxious. I’d cry every time I couldn’t get something right or didn’t understand the concept of something (this would ALWAYS happen in maths!)

My interests as a child, especially in primary school, were always a bit different. My interests focused a lot around Ancient Egypt – even to this day I can easily reel off an extensive fact sheet about Tutankhamun off the top of my head! – the obsession was so big that It reached a point where my dad took me to Egypt on holiday in the hopes it would make me stop talking about it so much…that plan totally backfired and I just talked about it even more. By the end of primary school I had started to be bullied for being the weird kid and therefore I was beginning to realise that not everyone found my interest in Egypt cool and I guess I learned to tone it down a bit and hide it. I tended to talk about it more at home and try not to talk about it when I was at school. I now know that these interests weren’t “weird” and are what I now know to be a “special interest”.

I think I began to realise that I was a bit different from others when I started secondary school. One main thing was that I had language processing difficulties which therefore means I take a little bit longer to process instructions or questions, this had a knock on effect in class as I would struggle to fully understand what had been said to me or what I was supposed to be writing down. Alongside this though, I found myself clinging onto friends from primary school who weren’t in my form group or classes, I tried to make new friends, but they always stayed as more of an acquaintance than a friend. I eventually made a small group of friends who I stuck with for pretty much the whole of my secondary school life. I did however begin to realise that people would form groups around me but always assumed that because I didn’t live in the same town, I wasn’t invited because they knew it would be difficult for me to get there and back? Or maybe it was just because their parents said they could only have two people staying over. Looking back now, it was probably more because I didn’t fit the “clique” of the group.

I soon enough began to copy the behaviour of the girls around me, find ways of being interested in the same things as them and then I slowly began to fit in. Half of the time I didn’t understand most of what was being spoken about but I knew enough to put comments into conversations enough to blend in, I managed to do this with a few different groups of people and slowly began to feel like I was fitting in a lot more. All of these new interests were ways that I could learn to blend in with the crowds more. I was able to learn appropriate mannerisms, how to show an interest in clothes and try to fit in with the new fashion, learn about new music and listen to that type of music enough to be able to have a conversation about it. At this point however, I was feeling the pressure of not being able to keep up with school work and struggling with my difficulties, yet again, I managed to hide these difficulties because I still managed to complete enough work for teachers to be content with and never had the confidence to be able to put my hand up and say that I didn’t understand what I was being asked to do.

The more I managed to copy and blend in with others, the easier life became for me. I found a passion for music – I’m not musically talented in the slightest, I can’t sing or play an instrument – and I can remember song lyrics after just a few times of listening to the song. I found a new band I liked which soon evolved into becoming my new special interest, my life again began to revolve around this and although it wasn’t a band many people listened to, I still managed to fit in because liking boy bands is a typical female thing to do.

I began to get bullied, I’d been bullied in primary school, but it was nothing to the extent of what I experienced in secondary school. I was targeted for being fat as well as for my taste in music amongst other things. Now I look back at this and realise that everything they said to me was totally false, but these types of comments stick with you, especially during teenage years when everything can already be a bit difficult to handle.

The secondary school I attended had a terrible approach to children who needed support, I was actually on the SEND register for the entirety of my time there, however it wasn’t until 6 weeks before I sat my final GCSE’s that they decided to test me to see if I needed extra time in exams or if I needed any extra tutoring. I was very lucky to only just get 5 C Grades, the rest were a mixture of D, E’s an F and even a U in one! I did however still manage to get into college to study Health and Social Care, to begin with, this was amazing, until the realisation kicked in that I was never going to be in lessons with people I knew well, that my breaks didn’t match up with those people I already knew who went to the same college as me. This made it increasingly more difficult as I had come to realise that it wasn’t as easy as secondary school was, I didn’t have a group of people I knew well. I made friends with a small group of girls, but I was still always the totally different one out of all of us. I was the one with bright orange hair, I was always quiet in class, only putting my hand up if needed or answering a question if I was made to answer it. I found myself withdrawing myself from everyone and everything around me. I dropped out when I’d passed my first year & opted to do an apprenticeship in childcare instead which eventually led me to the job I’m in now.

It was so easy for me to “fly under the radar” because I appear to be so “normal”. I regularly get the comment “I never would have guessed you were autistic.” Nobody guessed that I was autistic as a child or teenager, no one linked my obsessive interests, my anxiousness and the need to be perfect at everything or my lack of processing skills to be a trait of autism because there are so few examples of autism in females. I flew under the radar because I could copy everyone around me and become a carbon copy of others. I flew under the radar because of the misconceptions of how autism can be presented in people and because the stigma still surrounds autism. I can all but hope that one day those stigmas do not exist, and young people can thrive without any labels attached.


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